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Netflix and Verizon go to war over Net Neutrality

On Thursday Verizon Communications, a leading US broadband provider, sent a cease and desist to Netflix regarding a new loading screen the online streaming services has launched. In the new loading screen Netflix blames Verizon’s over crowded network for the slow loading of video as they adjust the “video for smoother playback”.

Verizon claim that there is no basis for Netflix to attribute these issues solely to Verizon and that Netflix’s own distribution model could be a contributing factor. Netflix claim the message is simply to “provide more transparency” to their customers and ensure consumers are made aware when they may not getting the level of service they may be paying for.

Verizon have been quick to respond after @yurivictor initially tweeted the message on June 3rd. Understanding the damage such publicity could have, Verizon has threatened legal action if the notice is not removed and if Netflix do not provide further data on when this message is displayed and who to.

As Verizon’s letter states, Netflix and Verizon “recently completed a long-term, strategic agreement” where it is understood that Netflix have paid to gain priority over other Internet traffic, violating the ideals of Net Neutrality.

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The idea of Net Neutrality is that all traffic on the Internet be treated equally to benefit both the consumer and competition between online businesses. In the US this is a hot topic as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are ruling over this very issue.

Netflix is known to have struck deals with other broadband providers including Comcast to gain a priority service and while such notices as these may be due to Netflix holding their “partners” to a higher standard it could also be a way to push back against the big communication providers.

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